Tuesday, 10 March 2015 00:00

The “Color Revolutions” and “Arab Spring” in Russian Official Discourse

Written by  Yulia Nikitinа

The “color revolutions” in the post-Soviet space were initially understood to mean the Rose Revolution in Georgia (2003), the Orange Revolution in Ukraine (2004) and Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005). The one feature these events share is considered to be the non-violent nature of the regime change resulting from mass protests. The 2010 revolution in Kyrgyzstan may also be relegated to this group of cases: although the revolution was not entirely peaceful it nonetheless led to a change in the country’s lead-ership. Somewhat less clear are regime change attempts or mass protests, for example the situation in Andijan (Uzbekistan) in 2005 or the mass protests and riots in Moldova in 2009. It is still unclear whether the power shift in Ukraine in February 2014 should be considered a “color revolution;” there is also no precise definition of the concept of the “Arab spring,” which is usually thought to include the mass upheaval and protests, more often not peaceful, that led (or did not lead) to regime change in a number of countries of the Arab world starting in late 2010. Despite the lack of consensus among political leaders and experts regarding terminology, on the whole the terms “color revolutions” and “Arab spring” have caught on and as a rule are used without further explanation in Russian official discourse in the expert community and in the media.